Sunday, August 23, 2009

An old smartphone makes a great standalone GPS

Many people don't understand how a GPS (Global Positioning System) works. Some think that some type of paid subscription service is always required if you wish to use a GPS. They don't understand that most standalone GPS devices are free to use once you buy the product.

I recently went on a road trip where I took an old smartphone that has a built-in GPS chip and used that as a standalone GPS navigator. I loaded TomTom software with U.S. maps and used this old Windows Mobile smartphone like a regular GPS in my car. The phone radio was off, so it was not connected to any network. It was great because this allowed me to use my current smartphone to make/receive calls, to look up traffic data on Google Maps, or check my e-mail (but not while driving of course).

So, if you have an old smartphone laying around, you may want to know if it has an internal GPS chip. Some smartphones (especially those on Verizon Wireless) may have a chip that's been disabled, but you may be able to enable it by doing a bit of searching online. To name a few examples: the Verizon XV6800, Verizon XV6900, and the Verizon Touch Diamond all have internal GPS chips that have been disabled (but can be enabled if you know what you're doing).

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